Easter Sunday and we decided that we were going to have turkey for Easter dinner! I did one last Thanksgiving and it was AWESOME! I usually read tons of recipes before I venture into a new Eggsperience and tend to combine techniques and learn from experiences by others. I did the same with the turkey but I must give credit where credit’s due: the gravy in this recipe is to die for. The best gravy in the world. The last time i followed Mad Max’s gravy recipe to a tee and that’s what I’ll keep on doing! I also use Mad Max’s butter/herb covering, that’s just too good of an idea not to take over!
I like the organic (see Big Green Beer Butt Chicken – hippie chick) never frozen kind. Make sure it comes with all the giblets, these are very important in the gravy. Don’t be afraid of large birds, the one i made this time was a 23 pounder! To prepare the turkey for the brine, take the giblets out and rinse the turkey thoroughly.
I like to brine the turkey! For my brine i use:
- Kosher Salt (2 cups)
- Brown Sugar (2 cups)
- Apple juice (4 cups)
- Fresh Rosemary (one of those packages they sell at the fresh herb aisle)
- Minced garlic (two whole garlic’s worth)
- bay leaves
- Peels of 2 grapefruits and 2 oranges.
Put everything in a large pot on the fire and add a couple of gallons of water. Stir occasionally until the brine starts to boil. When it does, take it off the fire and let it cool down all the way to room temperature (you don’t want the turkey to cook in the brine).
After the brine is cool, its ready for the turkey. I use my Husker neighbor’s brine bucket which is a 5 gallon pale with a lid.
Put the bucket in a cool space (fridge cool), we had no room in the fridge so I put it in the garage, which was around 40 – 50 degrees, and leave it there between 12 and 24 hours. This time, my turkey brined for about 18 hours.
The egg needs to be prepared for a loooong cook. This 23 pound turkey took some 9 hours, 7 and a half of which on the Egg at 300 degrees. I set it up for indirect heat, with the plate setter and heavy duty tin foil. Because of the size of the turkey, it wouldn’t fit on top of the grill in a drip pan. You can’t put the drip pan directly on the plate setter so i had to create a spacing. I did this by using a grate from an old smoker and some nuts, washers and bolts.
Throw a nice hand full of soaked wood on the fire, I used a mix of cherry and apple wood, make the final setup, and let the egg heat up to 350ish.
The Preparation of the Turkey
Take the turkey out of the brine and get rid of the brine and all its ingredients. Then rinse out the bucket and rinse the turkey and put the turkey back into the bucket, fill it up with fresh water and let it sit for a while.
Take the turkey out, sprinkle salt and pepper all over and inside it, put it in a turkey pan and stuff it with apples, onions, lemon, and herbs like rosemary, thyme, tarragon and sage. Make sure you cut up the apples, onions and lemon, but no need to cut up the herbs.
Another good tip from Mad Max: about half an hour before the turkey goes on, put a bag of ice on the breast. This makes the breast cooler than the rest of the bird and that causes it to cook more evenly overall. Smart!
Remember when I talked about Mad Max’s butter/herb covering earlier? Ok, get a bouquet of herbs (like sage, tarragon, thyme and rosemary), chop them up and mix them with softened butter. Not completely melted, you want to create a paste. Spread the butter/herb paste all over the turkey, thicker on top. The butter will melt over the turkey and drip into the drip pan.
The Turkey Cook
Now its time to get the turkey onto the Egg! I put the turkey on a rack into the pan onto my spacer invention and filled the turkey pan with about half a bottle of white wine and dropped some apple slices in it as well.
During the cook, the herb/butter mix melts off and drips into the wine. I basted the turkey every hour or so with the wine/butter/herb mix.
As mentioned earlier, the turkey was on the Egg for about 7.5 hours. I had to refill the coals once during the cook (always stressful).
After I took the turkey off of the egg (about 160F in the breast and the leg should move easily when you twist it) i wrapped tin foil over it and let it rest for an hour. After that hour, i carved it up and it was perfect, juicy and favorable! Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures of the carved up turkey!!
I would Copy-Paste the Mad Max turkey gravy recipe and post it here, but I’m not sure if they copy write their stuff.. In stead, I’ll post the link. click here for the recipe